It’s a classic case of the underdog finding her voice. While not exactly the most ground-breaking idea, 26-year-old Paris Jones – who goes by the stage name PJ – manages to stretch that template to studio album length.
On debut album Rare, the North Carolina-born tackles the subject of battling inner demons through quirky R&B anthems. But despite its derivative theme, the sound is anything but typical.
The best way to describe the cuts here is that they are the love child of vintage hip-hop and 90s Disney music. It sounds preposterous on paper, but in practice – that sound is extraordinarily inventive.
Something Special opens with a cartoony sequence before launching into an expletive-laden hip-hop jam. If anything, Rare plays like a Disney soundtrack for downtrodden adults.
Grown-up issues are presented in a bizarrely clean-cut fashion, making for a very riveting listen. “I really wanna be the type that don’t take s**t from no one,” she sings on the lead single Gangster.
Eclectic production aside, Rare is made even more exceptional thanks to PJ’s honest lyrical formation. There’s a cohesiveness that’s anything but monotonous in this record.
It finally culminates in the heartfelt Benjamin, a song that finds the Los Angeles transplant chasing money instead of love. If anything, PJ sings with a practical outlook, making her a rising star that’s easily relatable.